One day, Pasadena resident Alan Colegrove found himself in Finland preparing to jump into a frozen lake — naked.
For Colegrove, it was just another day as an international businessman. Colegrove details his many adventures, as well as the realities of international business, in his new book, “Accidental Internationalist.”
“This is about the weird stuff you do in international business,” Colegrove said.
Colegrove did not initially seek out to be an international businessman. He graduated from the Naval Academy with training to fly an F-4 Phantom. After leaving the Navy, Colegrove sought a job in engineering, the field in which he earned his degree.
He joined a major defense contractor and his job was to look through engineering drawings and plans, weighing in from a pilot’s perspective.
“At one point, they tapped me and said, ‘Why don’t you go do this international program as an engineer,’” Colegrove said. “That’s the first time I went into international business.”
Now, Colegrove has traveled to nearly 50 countries. He lived in Japan for three years, Malaysia for almost six years and Abu Dhabi for almost six years. Being an expatriate is not easy, and Colegrove details the thought process of making that decision.
The book also tells the stories of a lunch in a VIP room in France, going through a wet market in northeast Asia and eating goat on the Arabian Peninsula.
Through these many experiences with other cultures, Colegrove has learned to go with the flow.
“First off, we’re not the only people that have the best culture. There’s lots of ways to get things done,” Colegrove said. “If you walk in with a judgmental attitude, you are going to fail. You need to listen. The old adage about ‘God gives you two ears and one mouth for a reason’ is there.”
The book also touches on Colegrove’s company, Offset Collaboration, which he operates out of his home in Pasadena. Colegrove initially got the idea to write the book from the many blog posts he published to his website.
“Having delved into a number of topics, I thought I’d like to write a book, but I don’t want to footnote it,” said Colegrove, who has four degrees, including a doctorate. “I thought I would write a book more or less based on my experiences from the heart.”
Originally from Dallas, Texas, Colegrove has since lived in Severna Park from 2002-2007 and has now lived in Pasadena for 11 years.
“Accidental Internationalist” is available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble and at all major book retailers.